An American Airlines flight from London to Philadelphia diverted to Dublin after fumes from a lavatory cleaning product knocked out two flight attendants and made passengers nauseous.
AA729, an Airbus A330-300, took off from London on schedule at 10:15AM, but did not take off immediately after a spill was discovered. Apparently, aircraft cleaners had left left a bottle of bleach-like substance onboard and it tipped over during taxi.
It took some time to clean it up, but the flight took off about an hour late. But as the flight passed over the Irish coast, fumes from the lavatory hit the cabin. Two flight attendants allegedly passed out (briefly) while passengers reported burning eyes and itching skin.
With the problem unresolved and passengers complaining, the captain requested a diversion to Dublin. The fire department met the flight and officers wearing hazmat suits boarded the aircraft. Two crew members were taken to a Dublin hospital.
One passenger told the UK Daily Mail:
A cleaning product apparently leaked and some people felt ill. We were informed of this prior to take off and thus delayed an hour.
The plane still took off and then an announcement later told us, about one hour into flying time, that some crew members are feeling ill along with a few passengers and we have to make an emergency landing in Dublin.
Paramedics and the fire brigade came on board and investigated and took care of the ill people.
We are now stranded in Dublin and American Airlines have put us up in a hotel nearby until further notice. We still don’t know if we’ll make it to the US tonight.
An American Airlines spokesperson added:
American Airlines flight 729 from London Heathrow to Philadelphia diverted to Dublin due to an odor caused by a spilled cleaning solution in the galley.
The flight landed safely in Dublin at 1:15 p.m. local time, and taxied to the gate. Medical personnel have met the aircraft to evaluate any crew members or passengers who may need additional assistance.
At time of writing, it is not clear when passengers will continue to Philadelphia.
The smell of bleach makes me sick…it is banned in my home and office. I know it certainly cleans well…but I can only imagine the overwhelming smell of bleach in the confined space of an airplane. How odd that aircraft cleaners would just leave a bottle of open cleaning product sitting in the lavatory or that it would not be noticed prior to pushback.